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tv   Panel Discussion on Black Writers in the Digital Age  CSPAN  July 21, 2016 1:22am-2:31am EDT

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have interpreted which we think is incorrect, but the authors have only remedy of to send notices to the service provider and take it down which they generally do that then it goes right back up and you actually have to give the you are all so tell the service provider we're in is like for some of them there is no way even for a copy so it is called the game of wac the mold for:so
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that his third. >> spending a lot of money on dealing with these and parachutes so we're asking for a number of changes. also looking at collective licenses so they can pay for them instead of having the library's saying we cannot so they are big but there is a bunch of issues. >> lecter where we are in 2016 is there another period history of a revolution like it is now?
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>> and in the beginning of publishing it was a huge change the written word was eagerness you would follow and never had access to books no socially you did it to acquire the hundred years for the industry to realize we can use that technology for mass jewish tradition. because right now what has happened the information read once to be free but the
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technology companies are making a huge amounts of money. the big four, before worse men are costing content and the content creators are losing their shirts. that isn't fair but it is very shortsighted because they cannot afford to keep creating they will want some of the executive director from the authors guild. thanks for joining u.s..
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[inaudible conversations] >> afternoon. one more time. the next panel black writers in said digital age we are very excited about this panel and we will be joined by our individual the case so much he will be very excited because they do know some of the participants. >> good afternoon. give a strong return. >> good afternoon. >> i want to apologize first.
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in this case a train derailed so he should be coming soon. but i am excited about this i am an artist but when you start to do this with two different periods and believe it was 94 and how those do things help to change that direction and in those places where we could see black artist using technology and now they will
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find new audiences that is part of the conversation technology can be a crutch someone to talk too long but we have our panel today and also one of the founders of the producers i know we just met upstairs push multi talented producer there is another movie and production now is the beautiful woman achaean day tv personality and cultural list ago is kitschy is to do hogger - -
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chants and then we have a few questions so then we will try to put bridges and the conversation so the first thing that came to mind when planning was how technology can help because people say it is supposed to push a society for renewed pressure for word it is sacrifice so using the technology for black writers how does that help? id what about the constraints? >> first of all, thanks in the conference for having me it is a great conference and i am honored to ooh participated number of times
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over the years for the center for black literature does important work that nobody else does so dr. green deserves maximum respect for everything she has done. [applause] csa and a book publisher i run 35 books a year here in brooklyn in to i guess the first thing that occurs to me is about the technology of course, everyone being able to communicate more effectively so connecting people not just locally but international all over the world that technology has an incredible power to shrink the world down that has
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drawbacks but the upside is a huge in terms of people being able to get ideas out there. my favorite aspect of technology is as a book publisher, publishing and historically starting 15 or 20 years ago was the domain of the wealthy to read a book publishing company or a newspaper or magazine just required rich donors or corporation in this day and age anybody can be a book publisher that allows for so many more voices to get out there and i think that is important is still think the
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business is held back by incredible zero homogeneity among the businesses there are two contrary -- contradictory aspects one is that there has never been so many voices making it out to the public but in publishing people applying for the good old days with literature was more respected but he don't have to look very far to realize they are talking about why it may all hegemony with book publishing so i think it is offensive because who would want to go back to the way the world used to be with
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only one or two types of voices could be heard? but having said that there is a great diversity of voices but look who is in the publishing business itself that is like 89 percent white a lot of people who run book publishing businesses which is appalling statistic on many levels not the least of which it is based in new york city one of the most ethnically diverse places. >> it is interurban method is true that most of america is run by white males some now using traditional media when you do something on the internet or use social media, it does make it
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easier you you are lucky or blast so i was someone that is not established cut through the noise to become a player >> for sure. first the tall lad would say is i think it is worth it to a segment out a little bit between the impact of the digital age on creators a c hint people who are doing the sales a and marketingng because there is an impact year a on both johnny has been someone that i really admire for tackling tough problem of how you distribute
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literature because the book roster is incredibly diverse a and international not just in america i budget global truly coming from brooklyn so there is questions that i cannot answer about how to market the books to the audience that came in be through digital technology so on the one hand you can be in touch with others around the globe you can also use that to market books but i see there is ahat ts constant lack of balance between in the our production of the work to put your but in the chair and the need to be your own marketer i had a book, mount
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very practical book about the future of jobs in america and because i had some interesting experiences with the internal book publishers i decided to hire the external but i was our rich so i could not afford the major publicist feet was 20 grand and i could not afford that if roadways one person who was recommended that only does radio show two people friend of a friend now is just a side hustle so they gave me a cheap rate but a lot of what we did with the internalot firea publicist they got fired a week after my book launch. [laughter] that is what you have to deal with what we she is congratulations the next week it is i am leaving on
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friday i don't know what happened but all i need to know is i recovered. writing si but on the r rating side you have to insulate yourself if you were on twitter 24/7 that you could blacklist of websites or facebook or whatever so on one hand on the production side from the outside world beyond the marketing side it helps i help -- it helps i have 27,000 twitter followers it is into a lot but those who follow me pay attention into what i am doing so if youlf haven't needed to put yourself out there at the right time to realize a
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black twitter israel heeded have deep conversations that should not be happening when you are right's there is the lead to full the thing to keep yourself out of digital technology the other is to act strategically use it to get your. >> it doesn't mean [inaudible] >> correct. there's two parts to that. able to turn the establishment on the hous house and establisho the social media and come back to social media.
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>> absolutely. i'm with simon and schuster. i had the last stand and it's not because i'm a multi-talented writer. writer. there's many more out there. i've been able to understand that writing the book is only half the journey of the marketing as the other half and so because in my division i was the only african-american standing in her division we decided we wanted to leverage what we've learned and what caused us to be the last standinstanding and the sum of n companies. we currently have 40 bucks and a 227 more are coming this year.
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it's gone from a whole different level and that's because we understand the importance of digital technology. the advancements in digital technology are the best things that have happened. the advancements in digital technology are the worst things that have happened and that's because everyone who has ever had a cousin say all that drama in your life, you need to write a book. so there's a lot of loss of craft and respect and you have a votthought of people putting up material on the internet with books and making some up the material to stand out of the noise. >> the writer has used or can
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use or should use. before you check out the sound and i agree the amount of work that much is better. how does someone cut through the other noise? >> i had the mindset i worked harder and smarter, and i believed in thinking outside the box. they send me onto her and do all that but anything they do for me i go beyond and do it on my own so they have a level of respect for that and then i'm granting out so what is happening is you have readers and other authors and people in the industry that respect that i respect the craft and i'm always thinking outside
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the box. when i got picked up by simon and schuster i got rejected left and right. but i deleted my worst, so i was outside and i knew a book is about building so i let her do things. i would say do you carry my brother's keeper and they would say we've never heard of it. i would call back about three hours later and they would say nope. right before closing i would call and say i'm looking for this book for my brother's keeper and they would say we don't have it that we need to get it because everybody is calling about it. the book is good. i just had to build the buzz. this was before the digital technology had taken off. it was all about building that
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does and getting people talking. you have to have that at the core because you have to get noticed in the noise and that is what my focus was is finding a way to get out of the box and get noticed. >> we understand you need tricks to get cloak and dagger busine business. how do you use the community and technology in two different things as well as technology to push the book agenda? >> i like the fact you brought it back to the real community. i have a god daughter that lives in ann arbor michigan that's from detroit and i also have good relationships with some of the people that work in arts
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culture and public radio in detroit. i said the freelance publicists see if you can give me something. all these things came together to make it one of the best readings we've had on the tour. there was a group called urban strings. it wasn't a quartet. it was like the violin, etc. playing classical music, black kids from detroit and they are wonderful. the bookstore that we found was doing this event. they scheduled for 4 p.m. and this is a mother-daughter bookstore in detroit has been around for 40 years.
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they know the community and that's how the market. first of all the independent booksellers because independent booksellers that are doing well posted and make themselves integral to the life of the community there is always a place you can go to be with people hearing about interesting things so it's not just a place that sells books on its integrated into the community so i was able to luckily find a way to be part of what was already the vibrant life of detroit. it was a packed reading and even before they had to th the event beforehand they switched over so on me a few of them stayed for the book reading but also if you are walking by and see a face full of people you want to go in there and get some of that energy so even if the crowd wasn't the same as it was for the music portion earlier, i think having a packed house on
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the street that had other artists and businesses we are critical and so that is for the black authors and independent authors you have to see people that are already building communities. so you want to tap into your own community but the reason i gave the example of the booksellers if they are people in every city in america and in some places in the cities and people around the globe that have already built the community to tap into that. thinking about you, everyone cannot be with my friend calls the counter had. you have the strategy behind and you are making work they couldn't give you a million dollars.
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they are writing good work and of course good writing in the end. >> that's a good question. it's definitely a factor that we do best with authors that are sort of embracing this spirit that's being discussed taking out the box saying my publisher is going to do x. y. and z., so that's attractive. these aren't dealbreaker issues. but when you're deciding to publish a book, there's many
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factors that go into it and what someone brings to the table with a fee of the the ability to come into the decision-making. but i also don't want to overstate that because there is plenty of books we have published don't ever interact with. at brown dope books we do more commercial books. we started out and took some excellent books that were just phenomenal and they sold about ten copies. we had to shut down the missions. we had the submissions come in. after we find an excellent book we are perusing social media.
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if you have three friends on social media it goes into consideration, because we know that is integral to selling the book. the difference between the equally well read books could be your introduction on social media. the fact of whether or not you are a hermit because we know we have a great book written that we don't want to publish great books to sit on themselves and to say we have some great books that nobody is reading. >> [inaudible] >> if it doesn't have -- but it
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does have the ability and we could go over the environment and how much of the traditional media played. there is a book that i believe and we will work because some of those that are the hermit writers they don't know what they don't know him so we are a publisher that provides ourselves working with the office partnership so we are met with resistance, that's the problem but most of them can say what can i do to sell my book and they just don't know. that's again before we decide that we are going to take this step.
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>> long story short, i do think writers that are not willing to engage in their own publicity are at a disadvantage. you can write a really good book sometimes it catches fire and sometimes it doesn't. it's as well as bring your own social media. you have to figure out what the long tail is for your buck with the initial set of sales and i have a bigger platform and more visibility in my career there's
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many different factors and publishers as well you might have an author that is a hermit and it's off the moment and something that will catch fire you can also be the publisher that says we are going to do and internet-based campaign and we could ignore this offer isn't necessarily going to pull the weight and how could we create a campaign that would help do it. but it makes sense that you have to judge based on the quality of their writing because right now, the business for most authors and publishers is a sufficiently small margin, so you have to pay attention to those questions.
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>> it's just that social media is only one vehicle for authors to promote their work. if you don't have the opportunity to use twitter and insta graham and all these things and you are not drawn to it, you can say we need to get on social media but if you are not good at it and it's not going to help you, they will be effective in promoting the book in ways that are organic to who you are. i feel this way at least and there's many ways that some of the authors are incredible advocates but they are not necessarily on social media. and i say this because to be on social media, you need to be on social media and i feel like it's important to say that's one of the bunch of vehicles at your disposal. >> social media and magazines --
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>> i'm sorry, there was a mixup with the scheduling. [inaudible] i just want to say hello to everybody. >> how do you see that technology helping black writers or writers in general >> when i started a magazine that was i think 1996. then there was the main street magazine that was essentially white magazine and then there was the source.
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so the music magazine was a lot more mature. those are the places if you want your voice out there, the publication was the most efficient way to do it and that was the place that it was an advantage rather than a disadvantage. what happens now is there is a huge market for the race and it runs from the ten ways you shouldn't insult black people. these pieces i think performed well because they create controversy. the challenge though is number one a lot of people that write the stories are getting paid $50 a post, so it's piecework and then the other issue is that there are so many voices that
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you might get a one off for a big story but if your piece is hand tied and the editor doesn't enjoy working with you or forgot about you, whatever it is, you could be huge for two days and then two days later, you're not there. so another issue, i don't want to be negative about the technology because it has opened doors and it will allow people to get their voices out there. the question is what you learned along thyou'velearned along thei another disturbing trend that i've seen is there's a lot o thf fun edited copies floating around. so there is a huge privilege between people that get to write for magazines and then people
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that write online. so you could easily become pigeonholed because you hav yout between 250 articles in a month and you put that on your resume and it looks like you are experienced. but for somebody like me it tells that you've got a lot of piecework and are willing to work hard but you never had anybody sit down and evaluate your work for what it is. i guess what i am saying is it is a balance and goes back to what i've heard over and over which is the skill and trade like the distribution. there is more rules for black people in their writing but you have to be tight on your own or you can't wait for the editor because that's not going to happen. >> music, books and magazines
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have a similar scope. you can predate something as a small group [inaudible] looking at a film on tv, the production have a certain level of access that isn't available yet you need more cost to reach the audience. coming back to the two things i'm looking at. how does someone become incapable and i'm asking that you take the conversation and bring it down to one or two
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things. what can someone do beyond. >> in general i am very much of the glass half-full school of technology and i think when it comes to all technology, you have to evaluate whether you are using yourself -- i'm using yourself for getting stuff done but don't make a mistake but it's getting stuff done on the production side when you're writing or it's on the distribution side using social media. you could be on twitter all day and say nothing and it would get you nowhere.
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so the most important thing is to choose your weapons wisely. you will never be any younger than you are today. the reality is it is a time when i've had some amazing connections. this is kind of a side note but i grew up with half of my family in zimbabwe and we would be sending these blue envelopes back and forth. i bring that up because digital technology has shrunk the world in some ways but you have to figure out what to do so all of us do have a global platform at least theoretically in the online media and to a certain degree online distribution. but if you are just sitting around chit chatting, don't
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mistake that for actual work. so understand how you work and how you are most productive and it's great to goof off and i do it ove all the time, but undersd the difference between work and pay. there are exceptions to every rule. there may be a couple breakthrough offers that can do that but it's not necessary that you have to do that in social media. it is a big part of success and failure. but if that's not who you are, i would suggest finding other ways. media outlets i think a lot of times with detroit to do is cast a wide net into the atlantic ocean where we have had much more success fishing at the pond in brooklyn. i always encourage people to
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become famous where you are and reach out to local newspapers and community newspapers. getting in front of those people if you could get in front of the small crowds and let thy word of mouth filled and start building that a couple people at a time if you are not a large crowd type person, but you've got to do more than just write. >> i completely agree with everything she said. to get people to pay attention to you, you need to develop action somewhere. a snowball needs to start developing. and i think that is absolutely right. if you are trying to get famous
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worldwide, you are not dating him anywhere. you have more control over your local world. that's what the budget is therefore. on this idea that there is so much fun edited stuff online one thing i encourage writers to do is lean on your community and the part of the community and that means really investing yourself and if you are a writer you need to go to others readings so if you have something you want people to pay attention to, you've developed some good well but you need to
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lean on your community. i'm sure every single person in this room has a lot of very talented friends and family. i started off as a book publisher i didn't know what i was doing. i did know a lot of creative people so when it came time to getting the cover design for the first book and i still do a little bit but i had a rock and roll career in the 1990s so there were tons of creative people and we are talking about the book publishing world now but they can cross over into different mediums. so with good book covers still i published the first book and was it 1997 now i published a 400 books my name but designers remained and are still musicians i know and people from the music world.
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he did it for cheap because it was a small company. we've been on so many creative people i know and relationships i've developed over my life. don't put yourself up unedited. show it to your smart friends that have editing capabilities and say can you read through this and tell me what you think. there is a stumbling block for people for confusing chit chat
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with the dialogue and that's where the community comes in handy. if you are a hermit and socially inept, you know people that are socially successful. go to the person that can't keep a secret if you are friendly with, go to somebody and say i have this thing coming out and make it seem like a best-kept secret. that is a method i've seen used and another method really is family and friends. we put out the anthology with black women and body image in 2005, and that the come of the
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reason it still exists is because my mother had said in both parties and my aunt had to book parties. people gave them to each other for the holidays. it basically you need somebody to flood the personal market with what you have. finally, this idea of being socially inept makes sense to a certain extent, but this is what people said earlier. people are drawn to authenticity. so i have seen some of the shy people in the world get up literally shaking and still connect with people because people want to pay attention to what you say. it's not a show you are out here to perform for people.
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>> thank you. [applause] >> so, for things, don't chit chat, i will tell my friends back. finabout. find out what works for you to start and i hate when people say there is a brand. they have no idea what they are talking about. that's the other voice controlling the message. you then go to what you're talking about. [applause]
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we are going to keep things for questions. i will cut you off. it's not going to be a surprise. thank you, please sit down. make the questions not five-part questions. under those rules. [inaudible]
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it is an online writer's community that requires that you critique a certain number of other community members in a month and if you can contribute your own materials and critiques so that when it comes to the question of editing if you are not familiar with it, my question is can you please make it more familiar. >> that is a good one. >> that sounds fantastic. there is a requirement of engagement. that sounds like a major service. what you don't need is these programs like the editing software, and they think their work has been edited.
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don't think that means your work is edited like i ran spellcheck. that's not editing. if you have the community gets to something like this. hispanic in the optimistic realist position that's interesting. i'm going to check that out. >> thank you. >> two s's? >> thank you. the application process you do have to go through and it is the
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community of color, so it works with what we are doing. >> new rule. state your names. >> i am a reporter and i'm glad he brought up the conversation about investing in other writers. i am not that great at twitter. aside from commenting on others' writing and trending topics into stuff like that, can you kind of talk about some other practical pieces of advice to build an engagement that will build your own community members and also, speaking more about your
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personal time management options that worked for e. you will spend a good portion of the day writing but you still have to fit in the time. >> a lot of my background is advertising and marketing. and i think that, and i swear by this, your online presence is only as good as your off-line presence. if you want to sell something you have to create the bias. i started out the event was free. you have friends over. you could show getting someone
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to purchase and spend their time. the last one is the easiest one. it directs them to find out more information online. you have to create the online presence. however you do it. but you have to create it online. now, time management -- >> argue what they would consider a straight news reporter? >> i want to add in building the twitter following as a journalist you have to be careful about what you put on twitter.
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i've seen that time an it time n somebody has an account and it's in their name and comments online but then they say something crazy about a political candidate and we are not going to work with this. so with journalists in general and twitter, i think one of the most powerful things you can do is share work people are not readily going to find. it's important to other people because they want to know what's going on and you have somewhere you have a collection of people than they want to know about that and also i am more facebook and twitter but i crack jokes about and share articles that
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tend to depress people. >> it must be a journalist you have to stay away from politics and religion unless you want to make find something that works for you like the personality. i have a lot of followers for that and there's you have people coming to see what great motivational tips you're getting today. it's something people are looking forward to every week i'm going to find out what she's talking about. >> thank you. >> this panel is about the digital age.
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i don't know about you personally because i am currently going through this but if you have, what do yo you feen terms of instant -- instagram i'm currently dabbling with studying the analytics as well as the transactions. what do you think of the social media that have these huge followings of their readers what do you think about those such as ourselves focusing on the marketing aspect to these outlets? spinnaker i've studied it a lot. it's the wave of the future. i can't get on something that it is a tool that we have to get
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with the times. i encourage you to keep doing what you're doing. there's something about a 40 something year-old or 30 something-year-old but it absolutely is an avenue that the writers have to explore. >> from what i've seen it is a visual media. they don't have nice photographs out so i think part of it is research but it seemed to me that if you are not capable of doing something that might not be the best way. >> by 14-year-old said she has two different instagram. instagram. instagram. when it's private i am not allowed to see and then the
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public one that she determines what food she said [inaudible] [laughter] i'm not allowed to comment but i thought was interesting it goes along with what you were saying. >> one part to throw out there, we look and see how we are being impacted by the different social media platforms. in the past six months, instagram has moved up more important to us than twitter and facebook into seems to be the wave of the immediate future.
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>> do you think that it depends on the person? does it depend on the individual's? t >> if ther >> if there's something that you were better at -- >> i have a much better reaction on facebook. >> i did a report traveling by train may have started a instagram feed but i don't keep it up. i would love to but i don't have enough time, so i do twitter and facebook. again, it is a time management thing. so, aside from the marke market concerned it's also like do you have the time to invest in the platform? if you do, that's great, bu bute won'youwon't meet the requiremer
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everything else. >> that is helpful to me because i'm an anthropologist and i can instruct my students to use instagram for their fieldwork, so thank you. and my question is related to being in academics. academic writers are trained to be as dull as humanly possible. so i guess what i'm wondering if somissome of them have been goot translating their work into the online discourse. so i wanted to know what are the recommendations for those that are trained in the poor zone of the academy. academy. and then also my second question
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is this maybe i fancy that there is a black intellectual movement occurring in the country and in the culture and its premier league occurring online. and i'm also wondering how black academics can be more supportive of that movement, because i think it's happening and we should be doing more, so those are my questions. >> first, it's great to see you. i switch at different times within the construct of journalism for a very straightforward magazine publication and then tpm three do but also publications that are culturally oriented, and i think that there's always kind of a at least for me that is a hard shift when i switch into a different plane in journalism, but i would expect that it would be pretty similar for an academic publishing popular work. you have to do kind of a hard
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shift and say m.i. over explaining whatever and it goes back to what everybody else on the panel was saying about editing. it's like if you not you specifically that if you want to reach more popular audiences, you have to have someone coach you on the difference between the academic and popular writing. what was the second question? on the black online movement there was columbia and a whole conference just on black twitter. there was a lot going on. so if you like people are already doing it because it is already mutually beneficial. there is a lot to be gained from
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both angles. >> i actually get maybe 60% but i get are from academics and i could probably use about 20%. what they do, number one, they use the active voice. if you force yourself to use that voice that will tease out the information from you. number two, you have to tell the story. you can't put something esoteric and write about something for the news publication because the question is. it gets used a lot in academia.
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academic communities right and have a good lead. you get a sense of how do you gauge success in your work? >> it's selling well but i have this when they did in the event in san francisco and it's being packaged as a radio special that will be aired on 200 plus stations and we talk about the future of jobs and how the race,
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gender affect your career choices. i don't view the publication is the finish line i view it as a starting wind as a chance to have a conversation that continues. that's how i view things. >> it's not necessarily the amount of sales. it's having an impact personally. i feel successful because of going place after place and having their readers tell me they are connected with my boo books.
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i'm not talking about how much they sold but i'm just talking about being a part of the job of book publisher i think this has long been the case because i published this ten years ago but we published a debut novel by the award for the brief history. we did publish the award-winning book but when i met marvin and kingston jamaica, his career was going nowhere and he literally deleted his manuscript off of his computer and was going to be a graphic designer which is what he was doing to earn a living in the writer's conference
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sponsored by the fistful in jamaica and the writing completely blew me away. it was reviewed in the awards and after that, he went to a bigger publisher with the second book and before long, he was no longer in kingston jamaica. he was a professor at mcallister college in minneapolis, st. paul. we had our paths not cross, marvin might still be a graphic designer and the world would be a worse place because of it. a jamaica might be a little better if the rest of the world wouldn't be as good a place as it is and, that to me, is the success. i have two kids, so i need to make money but what inspires me
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now is the 400th book as the discovery of incredible writing and the fact we might get to play a part realizing the drea dreams. my name is taylor johnston. thank you for being here. my question is what would be your advice for the younger artists and writers that are just beginning that crucial step and taking their passion and putting it on to the platform i put myself out on a platform like that and what would be your advice for those that are beginning the process.
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to be measured in ho and how muh stuff you give away for free, because i think that there has become this mentality that everything should be accessed for free. music, writing, poetry. just think it's true i don't know what the right answer is and i'm not discouraging you from putting stuff up online. but think of the calculations and also that's advice for everybody, community is everything. >> don't keep your talent locked in a shoebox on your shelf. i don't want someone else to steal the ,


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